Painter is found guilty of murdering millionaire Richard SuttonDecember 17, 2021
Jobless painter is found guilty of murdering millionaire Sir Richard Sutton and the attempted murder of his own mother during horrific knife frenzy in tycoon’s £2m country home
- Thomas Schreiber was convicted of killing millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton
- Schreiber was also guilty of the attempted murder of his mother Anne Schreiber
- The 35-year-old thug had previously admitted to the manslaughter of Sir Richard
- He pleaded guilty to driving a Range Rover dangerously on the A303, A4 and M3
An aspiring painter was today convicted of murdering one of Britain’s wealthiest landowners and trying to kill his own mother following years of hatred and resentment which led to an ‘explosion of violence’ in a £2million mansion.
After ‘sponging’ off Sir Richard Sutton for years, Thomas Schreiber stabbed him to death with a kitchen knife in a frenzied attack which left the hotelier in a pool of blood outside his bedroom door.
The 35-year-old was also convicted of attempting to murder his mother Anne Schreiber, Sir Richard’s partner, who he stabbed at least nine times in the neck and back during the bloody assault – and now faces a lifelong jail sentence.
Schreiber lived with the couple at the mansion rent free following his mother’s divorce from his alcoholic father David.
But despite this, the court heard how he resented them for abandoning his father, who died in 2013.
Sir Richard, 83, had a knife plunged 12cm into his heart while Mrs Schreiber, 66, was stabbed so many times she was left paralysed from the neck down and breathing through a ventilator.
The ‘Moorhill’ estate in the hamlet of Higher Langham near Gillingham, Dorset, was left covered in blood and looking like a ‘warzone’ following the murderous rampage on April 7 this year, the eighth anniversary of Schreiber’s father’s death.
Thomas Schreiber (right) was convicted of killing the hotelier and the attempted murder of his mother Anne Schreiber (left) at Winchester Crown Court today
Sir Richard (pictured), an 83-year-old baronet who owned a string of hotels including the Sheraton Grand on London’s prestigious Park Lane, died in the knife attack in April this year
Police guard Sir Richard’s £2million property in the Dorset hamlet of Higher Langham in April
Today at Winchester Crown Court, Hampshire, a jury dismissed Schreiber’s defence he was suffering from a mental disorder which meant he was not in control on the night of the killing.
After four hours and 18 minutes deliberating, they were unable to come to a unanimous decision and were asked to return a majority verdict.
Just 33 minutes later, they found Schreiber guilty of the murder of Sir Richard and the attempted murder of Mrs Schreiber by a margin of 11 to one.
The killer, wearing a blue suit and pink shirt, stared down at the ground in the dock, as the verdicts were read out.
A whispered cry of ‘yes’ was heard from the public gallery above, where Sir Richard’s children Caroline and David Sutton, as well as other members of the family, were sat.
The Sutton family released a statement after today’s verdict, which read: ‘How could any family recover from such a sudden and devastating loss.
‘We can never bring back Sir Richard but his spirit will very much live on, alongside the very happy memories we have of our incredible father, brother and grandfather.
‘His values of being warm, generous and compassionate to everyone he met will be carried forward by future generations, and will never be extinguished.’
Sir Richard Sutton, pictured with his wife Lady Sutton and their children David and Caroline
Schreiber had denied murder but confessed to manslaughter, while he denied he had intended to kill his mother.
Judge Neil Garnham QC told Schreiber he faced life behind bars when he is sentenced on Monday.
He added: ‘The only sentence I can possibly give on Monday is one of life imprisonment, however I have to set a minimum term and also sentence you for attempted murder also.
‘You will be remanded in custody until then. I end by thanking counsel for their assistance in this case.’
During the 14-day trial, Schreiber claimed he picked up the knife when he heard a voice in his head saying ‘attack, attack’ after he ‘completely lost it’ when his mother branded him ‘drunk just like your father’.
But Mrs Schreiber, the only living witness of the attack which left her paralysed and suffering from poor memory, said she was in a ‘good mood’ and was cooking in the kitchen when she heard a ‘kerfuffle’ which made her turn around to see her son walk in and pick up the knife from a block on the kitchen island.
Speaking from Salisbury Hospital’s spinal unit after the attack, she told police: ‘I think I’m just cooking quite happily, might even be singing a little although I don’t really have any voice to sing with. But I’m in a good mood.
‘I’m standing with my back to the door… when Thomas comes in to the kitchen where we have a big island.
‘I heard a kerfuffle… to make me turn around and go towards the island in the middle of the room where Tom is standing.
‘Thomas looked unusual… His eyes were quite weird… I would say almost frightening to look at because they looked terribly, terribly determined.
‘I received some stabs from him and I remember looking at the knife in me and being surprised that it didn’t hurt more.
‘Then I believe – I may be wrong – but I believe Richard comes in to the kitchen from his other living room shouting and screaming.
‘He was definitely alive then because I did see him… I 100 per cent believe he was alive then.
‘I remember seeing him at least making an entrance, talking in a loud voice. I don’t know what happened to Richard.
‘You want the truth and honestly I can’t say that I saw Richard being stabbed by Thomas but I know I am [being stabbed] that’s for sure.’
Pictured: A jury has been shown footage released by the Metropolitan Police of Schreiber being chased at 135mph before armed police seized him in the hours following the attack
Mrs Schreiber was found barely breathing in the kitchen by armed police but Sir Richard had managed to limp upstairs, trying to set off an alarm and call the police along the way, before Schreiber picked up a second knife, hunted him down and stabbed him a further five times.
His body was found on the upstairs landing, with blood splashed across the wall in front of him.
The court heard Schreiber then fled the scene in Sir Richard’s Range Rover, leading police on a 135mph chase from Wiltshire to London where he was finally apprehended by officers.
After he was forced to stop he began to stab himself with a third knife he had grabbed from the mansion before his escape but he was stunned by a taser to prevent him from killing himself.
The jury heard how Schreiber living with the couple at the sprawling country estate became a ‘vicious triangle’ as Sir Richard became ‘consumed’ with trying to get rid of the aspiring painter.
His daughter Caroline Sutton even revealed the hotelier paid Schreiber £100,000 for a house deposit in a desperate attempt to get him to leave his home.
In November 2020, Sir Richard hit Schreiber on the back with a walking stick following a heated family row over the inheritance of a chandelier.
This row, the court heard, isolated Schreiber from his family and was a ‘watershed moment’ in his relationship with them.
He began obsessively scouring the internet for articles about revenge and became ‘consumed with hatred’ towards his mother and Sir Richard.
The jury heard how Schreiber told friends he was planning revenge and wanted to ‘go out with a bang’ just months before the killing.
In March 2021 he wrote to his best friend James Reid: ‘Simply put I contemplate murdering them all morning day and night. It’s not what I want to think about but it’s the truth. I want them to suffer.’
He added: ‘I think and strategise every single day about how best to murder my mother and co… that’s how bad my mind is at.’
He also told his friend Fedor: ‘The short story is, my mum is a gold digging fucking bitch, she is a selfish, manipulative, toxic, gold digging bitch.
‘We moved here 17 years ago, this huge house, with her partner… she’s only there to cook for him and take his money.
‘He’s a multi multi-millionaire, he’s never had to work a day in his life, he inherited everything, all property, all land basically around the world. He’s an absolute cunt.
‘He’s horribly racist, horribly backwards, horribly old-fashioned, horribly English… I don’t have a good word to say about him frankly and I can’t stand him.
The court also heard chilling voice notes left by the killer just moments after he left the horror scene at Moorhill.
He told his friend Josh Adamson: ‘I can’t stop the hatred and it’s become too much, the denial and the deceit and the lies and I have had to take action.’
Sir Richard was listed at number 435 in the Sunday Times Rich List last year with an estimated family fortune of £301 million.
He owned a sprawling property empire and more than 16,000 acres of land, including the five-star Sheraton Grand on London’s Park Lane and the Athenaeum hotel in Mayfair.
Sir Richard had two children by his first wife Fiamma, and five grandchildren.
Mrs Schreiber, a Danish-born physiotherapist who has a practice in Milborne Port, Dorset, has three grown-up children including son Thomas.
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